LIFE Best 25 Years Award for Bread4PLA
May 31, 2017: Outstanding LIFE projects were celebrated at the Green Awards ceremony in Brussels on 30 May. BREAD4PLA – with ATB as partner - was honoured as one of the most exceptional LIFE projects of the programme's 25-year history.
The main objective of the BREAD4PLA project was to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of using waste products from the bakery sector in the fabrication of a 100% biodegradable plastic film. The project aimed to establish and operate a pilot plant at pre-industrial scale for the synthesis of poly-lactic acid (PLA) from bakery waste products, using a low-energy process with water-based enzymes. The project also aimed to demonstrate practical uses for this PLA as a thermoplastic packaging film that meets current requirements and standards.
BREAD4PLA united four specialized partners in the different sectors involved in the development of the new packages from waste of the bakery industry, thus covering the whole chain: ATB, CETECE and FCVRE, Spain, and The BioComposites Centre-Bangor University, UK. The project was coordinated by AIMPLAS, Spain.
ATB with its pilot plant facility and long-term experiences in using several feedstocks and bacterial strains for the biotechnological process of producing high quality lactic acid carried out research in the field of substrate preparation and microbial transformation. Furthermore, physical-chemical tests on substance separation as well as the technological optimization of fermentation and down-stream processing steps were carried out in ATB. The pilot plant is designed as an industrial demonstration plant. It serves to transfer results in the field of bioconversion of agricultural commodities into practice.
ATB-scientist Dr. Joachim Venus is carrying out research in biotechnological conversion processes since more than ten years - and he is still enthusiastic about his work. "I am really pleased that BREAD4PLA received this acknowledment. It indicates that the need to produce climate-friendly biobased chemicals and to substitute fossile based materials has been understood. On the long term, this technology will enable us to realize a zero waste policy and to create new sources of income."
The Green Awards singled out projects that have had remarkable effects on the EU's natural environment and in creating green jobs and boosting green growth over the past quarter century.
A total of 15 projects had been selected as finalists by an expert jury, who looked at their long-term sustainability, communication potential and broader impact on a national, European or global level. Projects were also assessed for innovation, transferability, environmental benefits and improvement of conservation status. The winners were then chosen by public vote on Facebook.
The ceremony was part of the EU Green Week and attended by representatives from local authorities, government agencies, educational institutions, students, private companies and NGOs from all over Europe. The event highlighted the impressive achievements of LIFE during the past quarter century and its contribution to reducing the human impact on the environment, protecting Europe’s natural heritage and tackling the challenge of climate change. The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, described the impact of the LIFE funding programme: "A quarter century is a long time, and over that time [LIFE] has achieved a great deal. It has funded more than 4 000 projects to the tune of over €3 billion." He also stated that the awards symbolise the Commission's "appreciation for the efforts of thousands, the hard work and dedication of everyone who has contributed to the programme as a whole".
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